To assess the property and surrounding area for flood exposure, Allianz Risk Consulting lists a number of steps insureds can take. To assess the property and surrounding area for flood exposure, Allianz Risk Consulting lists a number of steps insureds can take. (Photo: Alex Wroblewski/Bloomberg)

Floods can occur anywhere, making them one of the most common natural disasters with the potential cause significant damage to buildings, contents and yard storage. As extreme weather events occur with more frequency, it’s important for insureds to be prepared for flooding, even if they live in areas not known to be susceptible to such events.

Overflowing of natural or man-made bodies of water such as rainwater runoff or sewer back-up can cause flooding; even the smallest streams, creek beds or drains can overflow and create flooding. The best way to prevent flooding for new construction is to avoid building in flood-prone areas. If this is not possible, construct buildings above anticipated flood water levels and design to limit the potential for flood water entry.

In an effort to help minimize the damage that may occur as a result of flooding, Allianz Risk Consulting has developed a checklist, meant to be used as a guide, that should be completed before, during and after a flood.

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Flood hazard analysis

The key to minimizing flood damage is adequate preparation before the event.

To assess the property and surrounding area for flood exposure, Allianz Risk Consulting lists a number of steps insureds can take. If your site is subject to flooding, here are some considerations for each phase. (A full list of recommendations can be found on Allianz Risk Consulting’s website.)

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Pre-flood planning

  • Develop a comprehensive, written flood emergency plan to mitigate the exposures. The plan should include: assigning emergency organizational roles and responsibilities, providing training at least annually and a business continuity plan for restoring operations after the event, among others.
  • Review buildings for potential openings where flood water may enter and seal openings as necessary.
  • Inspect all existing flood prevention systems if provided, such as dikes, walls, flood barriers, etc., and make repairs as necessary.
  • Relocate important equipment, stock and records to higher elevations not subject to flooding.

During a flood

  • Emergency response team personnel should remain at the facility if safe to do and be prepared to respond.
  • Continue to monitor the media for information on potential flood damage, access to property, utility outage, etc. Update management and maintenance accordingly.
  • Monitor flooding in all buildings.

After a flood

  • Secure the site to prevent unauthorized entry.
  • Organize and prepare emergency crews for salvage and cleaning operations.
  • Notify utility companies of any outages or damage.
  • Review the effectiveness of the flood emergency plan and revise as needed.

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